Finn Harps took a massive step towards Premier Division survival with Sean Houston scoring another goal to earn them a late 1-1 draw against St Patrick’s Athletic in a game which was overshadowed by an awful injury to Harps’ Keith Cowan. The draw moves Harps nine points clear of relegation rivals Wexford Youths with a game more played. St Pat’s move up to seventh.
BJ Banda was given only his second start of the season in Manager Ollie Horgan’s only change from the victory over Bray on Friday. The Teenager replaced Adam Hanlon in the starting XI. Due to a number of injuries, the boss was only able to name 6 substitutes.
St Pat’s Manager Liam Buckley also made one change to his side which won their last fixture, a 4-1 win against Finn Harps' relegation rivals, Wexford Youths, bringing in Mark Timlin for Billy Dennehy who dropped to the bench.
The first notable chance of the match fell to Graham Kelly. His lovely solo run which left defenders in his wake was brought to an end as Ciaran Coll got in a fantastic block to deny a shot on goal.
Moments later Ryan Curran tried to copy the St Pat’s man with a run of his own, his was halted before he could get his shot away.
Christy Fagan tried his luck from the edge of the box just after the half hour mark, but his effort was hit high over the crossbar.
Kelly was lighting up the game with moments of brilliance. His attempt on goal just before half time was a lovely dinked effort which looked to be floating in but Ciaran Gallagher got up well to save it.
BJ Banda had the last chance of the half, a great lay-off from Sean Houston left the teenager with a great chance to put his side in the lead, but he slipped at the crucial moment allowing St Pat’s to clear.
Just under 10 minutes into the second half and a moment no football fan wants to see. Keith Cowan went down and you could hear his scream and see his agony as he smacked the ground in pain. It did not look good for the defender and the stretcher was readied to carry him off. After six minutes down on the pitch, Cowan was stretchered off and replaced by Packie Mailey.
A close range header from Timlin put St Pat’s in the lead just after the hour mark after a great delivery from Conan Byrne.
Tony McNamee nearly found an equaliser with about 15 minutes to go, he went straight for goal from a free kick but his attempt went just wide.
With just under 15 minutes to go Finn Harps began an onslaught on the away goal with chance after chance and the odd penalty appeal waved away by referee Ray Matthews, but the St. Pats defence held up well.
Harps found their equaliser two minutes into added time through Sean Houston. He hit a cracker of an effort from distance and it flew into the top corner.
Houston also had the last notable chance of the match with another long range effort but this one was blocked well by the Saints defence.
Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Ciaran Coll, Keith Cowan(Packie Mailey 60); Ethan Boyle, Gareth Harkin, Michael Funston, Sean Houston, Barry Molloy (Dave Scully 75), Ryan Curran; BJ Banda (Tony McNamee 60).
Subs not used: Richard Brush, Tommy McMonagle, Gareth Doherty.
Yellow Cards: None.
St. Patrick's Athletic: Brendan Clarke; Ger O'Brien, Ian Bermingham, Lee Desmond, Darren Dennehy, Michael Barker; Mark Timlin(Billy Dennehy 84), Jamie McGrath(Darragh Markey 87), Conan Bryne, Graham Kelly; Christy Fagan(Dinny Corcoran
Subs not used: Patrick Jennings, Rory Feely, Dylan McGlade, Jonathan Lunney.
Booked: Mark Timlin(24), Michael Barker(74)
Referee: Ray Matthews.
ExtraTime.ie Man of the Match: Graham Kelly (St. Patricks Athletic).